Scripture: Luke 5:1-11
Key verses: (9-10) For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.”
Reflection: I have never been much of a fisherman. I apparently have a low capacity for the patience required to be a good fisherman. This becomes abundantly clear to me when nothing is happening. If there is no action, the fish are not biting, and nothing is caught – B O R I N G! Move on to something else! I suppose, if my livelihood depended on my fishing skills I might feel differently. If I were dependent on those skills to put food on my family’s table, I probably would try to develop those skills. But since they are not, I won’t.
So, this incident of Jesus and the disciples does not create an easy connection for me. The part about Jesus telling them to go out into deeper water and put their nets on the other side has always been a challenge to the risk-averse side of me. It certainly is true that we rarely ever grow mentally, physically, and spiritually unless we get outside of our comfort zone. When the disciples did just that, they ended up with a huge catch of fish.
Then Jesus tells Simon (soon to be Peter) not to be afraid. Don’t worry Simon, Jesus says. The challenge of hauling in a huge load of fish will pale in comparison to the next fishing trip I send you on. You are going to be CATCHING PEOPLE! (It’s not recorded in Scripture, but at this point, Simon sat down in the boat and mumbled, “O Lord, what is he getting me into now?”)
What does this mean, “catching people?” Do I use hooks, nets, spears, what? What do I do when I catch them? Do they go bad? Jesus seems to enjoy baiting people to take him more literally than he intends. Catching people is not about actually capturing people. It’s not about techniques and equipment. It is about inviting people into the boat so that everyone can be a part of the fishing party, following Jesus. To catch people, you don’t need a hook and line. You don’t need a net. You don’t even need water. We just need to follow that guy who seems to know more about fishing than the pros.
Prayer: You call us, O Lord, out of our comfort zones into the deeper water. You call us to put out nets where you tell us to. You call us to gather the amazing result. You call us to follow you. Show us where to go and what to do. In the name of the greatest fisherman of all, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Author: Von Clemans
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].